James Martin (chef)
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30 June 1972
Malton, North Riding of Yorkshire, England
Martin's family were farmers on the Castle Howard estate and he helped his mother in the kitchen, which started his interest in cuisine. He lived in Welburn, attended Amotherby School in Malton and Malton School, the local comprehensive where he was a member of the school rugby and cricket teams, but did not enjoy academic subjects due to undiagnosed dyslexia.
He went on to study catering at Scarborough Technical College where he was a star student. He trained at Hostellerie De Plaisance, Saint-Émilion, France. He then worked at the 3 Michelin star restaurant Maison Troisgros in Roanne, France before moving on to join the staff of Anthony Worrall Thompson's 'One Ninety Queen's Gate' restaurant in Kensington, London.
Martin subsequently moved on to Alastair Little in Soho, London, 2 Michelin star restaurant The Square in Mayfair, London and the 3 Michelin star restaurant, Harvey’s in Wandsworth, London.
He first appeared on television in 1996 with programmes including "James Martin: Yorkshire's Finest" (set in various Yorkshire locations with an emphasis on Yorkshire cuisine) but came to wider public attention on the BBC 2 programme Ready Steady Cook. He holds the world record for carrot chopping in which he peeled and chopped 515g of carrots in one minute, during a Ready Steady Cook Children in Need Special.
Martin co-presented BBC Food's "Stately Suppers" with Alistair Appleton, and then appeared on the Channel 4 programme Richard & Judy, where he would visit a member of the public in their own home who had been nominated to be cooked a 'comfort food' meal. In 2006 he became the presenter of the BBC 1 show Saturday Kitchen.
In 2007 he starred in a BBC 2 series named Sweet Baby James (named in reference to the James Taylor song) in which he focused on desserts, puddings and cakes while visiting places from his culinary past that have inspired his recipes.
He filmed a 30 part series for the BBC in 2007 called Eating with the Enemy which was broadcast in July and August 2008.
In September 2011, James was tasked with revamping the menu and catering facilities at Scarborough General Hospital, the programme being titled, Operation Hospital Food and shown on BBC TV. The show was well received and a restaurant was renamed 'Pat's Place', in honour of the Catering Manager who had worked there for 21 years. The show was recommissioned for a second series and was shown on BBC1 in February and March 2013.
In December 2012 Racing Legends with Sir Jackie Stewart aired on BBC2. Martin interviewed Sir Jackie Stewart, about his life and career whilst the pair drove through the Alps in a Pantera supercar. He also drove his Tyrell Formula One car for fifty laps around the Monza race circuit.
Also in February and March 2013 Martin presented the United Cakes of America show. Throughout the 15 episode series Martin travelled 634 miles along America’s East Coast, sampling 234 cakes and five bags of pretzels with the production crew along the way.
In July 2013 Martin appeared alongside Angela Hartnett and Richard Corrigan on BBC1 on a special edition of The Great British Menu entitled The Great British Budget Menu. The show aimed to highlight food poverty and involved the chefs cooking nutritious meals on a budget.
In September 2013 the programme James Martin's Food Map of Britain aired on BBC2. There were 10 episodes with each focusing on a different region of Britain. James investigated the produce of each area and cooked two dishes per episode. Recipes from the show are on the BBC website.
In February 2014, based at his kitchen at home in Hampshire, he presented the series James Martin: Home Comforts on BBC 1. Many of the dishes were inspired by memories of his childhood in Yorkshire, and the programme also featured many local small-scale food producers and cooks.
Until 2013 Martin wrote a motoring column for UK newspaper the Mail on Sunday.
In 2009, Martin wrote in his column that he deliberately drove an electric Tesla Roadster in a manner that startled two cyclists causing a "look of sheer terror as they tottered into the hedge". Following criticism from cycling groups and professionals such as Bradley Wiggins and Stuart O'Grady, he apologised for the statements. Complaints said that the driving was illegal and dangerous.
James Martin also writes a monthly column for the Good Food magazine.
In 2008, Martin released the Cuisina by James Martin range of appliances that he personally helped to design. The range was launched by Premium Appliance Brands having been designed with the aid of Bigblue Product Design.
In 2012 Life, Fork and Spoon was launched with the aim of providing people with high quality, pre-prepared food that could be delivered to their home.
James Martin opened his restaurant, called "The Leeds Kitchen", inside the Alea Casino at Clarence Dock, Leeds on Saturday 9 April 2011. The casino, and with it the restaurant, closed in March 2013.
In 2012 he opened his second restaurant inside The Talbot Hotel, Malton, North Yorkshire. The restaurant was placed in the Michelin Guide at the end of 2012. In June 2013 it was reviewed by food critic Jay Rayner for the Observer who described his meal there as "three beautifully poised, close to faultless dishes".
On 10 June 2013 Martin was honoured with The Craft Guild of Chefs Special Award. The Special Award is presented to someone who has made an outstanding contribution to the industry, and Martin was praised for his commitment.
Martin has a passion for performance cars which led to him entering a vintage Maserati in the 2008 Mille Miglia. This was televised on 28 December 2008. He failed to complete the race due to a dropped valve and broken crank.
Martin is racing in the 2013 Masters Series in an Appendix K 1964 Mini Cooper S. On 23 June 2013 he took his first race win at the Brands Hatch Mini Festival, becoming the 2013 Champion of Mini Festival
Martin's current collection of Ferraris can be seen at CarFest 2013. He also collects "works" Minis.
In 2009 Martin passed his Private Pilot Licence. He is currently (June 2013) learning to fly a JetRanger helicopter to get his Private Pilot Licence (Helicopter).
- Daily Mail Weekend Interview. 7 July 2012, p6
- "Can you cook it?". The BBC. Retrieved 18 November 2009.
- "Martin sorry over cycling article". BBC News Online. 16 September 2009.
- "TV Chef James Martin Cooks Up A Storm With Anti-cycling Remarks". BikeRadar. 14 September 2009. Retrieved 1 April 2013.
- Martin, James (12 September 2009). "The Tesla Roadster is the all-electric supercar that's as fast as a Ferrari". London: Daily Mail. (The Daily Mail website does not show the text in question.)
- KBBNews - News feature
- The Leeds Kitchen[dead link]
- "Alea Leeds Clarence Dock casino to close UPDATED - Top Stories". Yorkshire Evening Post. 5 March 2013. Retrieved 1 April 2013.
- The Talbot Hotel: restaurant review …
- "BBC Two - The Real Italian Job: James Martin's Mille Miglia". Bbc.co.uk. 30 September 2012. Retrieved 1 April 2013.
- JAMES MARTIN IS THE CHAMPION OF MINI FESTIVAL 2013 http://www.mini-festival.co.uk/mini-news/james-martin-is-the-champion-of-mini-festival-2013.aspx
- Race reports and results - Aston Martin Challenge website http://www.astonmartin.com/en/racing/series/gt4-challenge/2013-race-reports/round-4-brands-hatch
- James Martin official website
- James Martin Twitter
- James Martin Facebook
- Saturday Kitchen recipes
- James Martin Good Food Channel recipes
- James Martin: Home Comforts recipes